The next time you spot an AfriSam tanker on the road, pay some respect to the driver. He might be richer than the average you.
Thanks to the 10 years old Cargo Carriers’ owner driver black economic empowerment (BEE) scheme. The JSE listed supply chain specialist, Cargo Carriers, has run the owner driver scheme jointly with its BEE partner Ezethu Logistics since 2003. A number of other companies with a heavy logistics exposure, like the South African Breweries, have embraced the owner driver scheme as a form of BEE. This has to a certain extent come to balance out laments that BEE is benefiting a few usual suspects.
The success of the Cargo Careers scheme is highlighted in a fresh deal between Ezethu Logistics and cement manufacturing giant AfriSam. A statement released yesterday said Ezethu has been awarded the contract to transport cement from AfriSam’s Ulco operation near Kimberley to the company’s readymix facilities in the Western Cape.
Ezethu Logistics has dedicated eight powder tankers to the contract, which will deliver bulk cement to plants in Bellville, Peninsula, Cape Town city and Philippi.
Andre Jansen van Vuuren, Divisional Director of Marketing for Cargo Carriers, said the AfriSam contract was a milestone in Ezethu Logistics’ 10 years of steady growth which has partly been fuelled by “its unmatched BBBEE credentials”.
He added that three factors gave Ezethu Logistics the edge. These are reputation for reliable; cost-effective supply chain logistics in fuels, chemicals and powders; certified compliance with the best Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) standards and a BBBEE compliance rating of Level 2.
The owner driver scheme is a critical element of the Level 2 BBBEE status. Van Vuuren noted that since 2003, Cargo Carriers and Ezethu Logistics have pioneered the concept of owner-drivers, providing training and support to allow drivers to become stakeholders in the industry. The result is genuine empowerment, backed by Cargo Carriers’ financial muscle, stringent health and safety standards and a 57-year reputation for business reliability.
Six of the eight units servicing the AfriSam contract are driver-owned, with two provided by Ezethu Logistics. Each vehicle will cover 21 500km per month, bringing down the ratio of units to volume hauled. Using computerized logistics and vehicle tracking to adhere to a strict shift change-over timetable, they allow reduced delivery costs without compromising reliability or driver safety. “We’re really ‘sweating the assets’,” said Van Vuuren. “We stay strictly within industry standards for driving times and shift times, but our logistics give us the edge in turnaround times and load monitoring”.
Van Vuuren said as part of its commitment to furthering the national economic transformation objectives the B-BBEE scores of service providers to AfriSam are an important factor in the awarding of contracts. Ezethu’s Level 2 rating allows AfriSam to claim more than 100% compliance in terms of its procurement charter. This rating, complemented by Ezethu’s competitive pricing, played a significant role in the company securing the contract.
He added that with any haulage of potentially hazardous materials, safety is paramount. Ezethu’s growth in the fuels, chemicals and powders sector is testimony to the company’s attention to SHEQ standards, as demonstrated by its ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 9001 certification. “In this day and age, business simply can’t afford not to commit to reducing carbon footprints and improving health, quality and safety standards,” said Van Vuuren. “Apart from compliance with the relevant transport and safety acts, we are upgrading our fleet with reduced-emissions vehicles, we are active in health and safety monitoring committees, and we ensure our drivers have access to first-class medical treatment in the event of stress, fatigue or loss of concentration.” The company also maintains contracts with disaster-response firms, so that in the event of an accidental spill, containment and clean-up operations can begin without delay.